American troops could be sent to Europe as fears grow that a Russian invasion of Ukraine is imminent, according to a new report.
President Joe Biden is considering a deployment of up to 5,000 troops to North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies in Eastern Europe and the Baltics, The New York Times reported Sunday.
However, no deployment is planned to Ukraine, which is surrounded on three sides by more than 100,000 Russian troops.
The Times’ report framed the deployment — which could include naval and air assets — as a possible option for Biden.
“Even as we’re engaged in diplomacy, we are very much focused on building up defense, building up deterrence, both for Ukraine, NATO itself,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” according to a State Department transcript.
“NATO itself will continue to be reinforced in a significant way if Russia commits renewed acts of aggression,” he said. “All of that is on the table.”
“This is clearly in response to the sudden stationing of Russian forces in Belarus, on the border, essentially, with NATO,” Evelyn Farkas, a top Pentagon official for Russia and Ukraine during the Obama administration, said, according to the Times.
“There is no way that NATO could not reply to such a sudden military move in this political context. The Kremlin needs to understand that they are only escalating the situation with all of these deployments and increasing the danger to all parties, including themselves,” Farkas said.
Jim Townsend, a former top Pentagon official for Europe and NATO policy, told the Times that putting a few troops in Europe is “likely too little too late to deter Putin.”
“If the Russians do invade Ukraine in a few weeks, those 5,000 should be just a down payment for a much larger U.S. and allied force presence. Western Europe should once again be an armed camp,” he said.
More than 150 U.S. military advisers are in Ukraine, and they would be removed at the first sign of a Russian invasion, according to the Times.
NATO also indicated it could beef up naval and air support in Eastern Europe, The Washington Post reported Monday.
NATO said its member nations are “putting forces on standby and sending additional ships and fighter jets to NATO deployments in eastern Europe, reinforcing Allied deterrence and defense as Russia continues its military build-up in and around Ukraine.”
Also, some of the Russian deployments & equipment are not about Ukraine, but to face #NATO in case the conflict expands. In such case, can expect ground action against the Baltic states & #Poland pic.twitter.com/fXsG2v15I6
— Indo-Pacific News – Watching the CCP-China Threat (@IndoPac_Info) January 24, 2022
Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for Russian leader Vladimir Putin, said Russia is only “taking measures to ensure that our security and our interests are properly protected,” according to the Post.
“Unfortunately, we live in such an aggressive environment. Unfortunately, we are all reading reports that NATO is making certain decisions,” he said. “This is the reality in which we exist.”
Peskov said Western nations are creating “informational hysteria” about Ukraine.
“I want to draw your attention to the fact that all of this is not happening because of what we, Russia, are doing,” he said. “It is all happening because of what the United States [and] NATO are doing and because of the information they are spreading.”
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.